Gary Vaynerchuk took his family wine business and grew it from a $3 million to a $60 million business in just five years. Now, he runs VaynerMedia–one of the world’s hottest social media-first digital agencies. Along the way, Vaynerchuk became a prolific angel investor and venture capitalist, investing in companies including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Uber and Birchbox before co-founding VaynerRSE, a $25 million investment fund.
Back in the day when I was doing Wine Library TV, I got a lot of flack for talking about sports or cultural events on social media or my video blog. Many people commented “stick to wine” or suggested that I was just a “wine guy”. They thought that talking about sports and world news was off-brand. But I know a lot about wine, and I know a lot about business, too. I am a business guy, and a wine guy … and the No. 1 fan of the New York Jets.
Anyone who knows me recognizes that I care about what other people think. But, ultimately, only I know my wants and needs. No one else in the world—not the media, my friends or my detractors—can define who I am.
The only person who can define who you are and what you want to achieve is you. How do you do that? Be self-aware. Play to your strengths and respect your weaknesses. If you’re a mechanic and have the talent to become a podcast host of the No. 1 show on flower arrangements, and it’s something you want to have happen for yourself, then do it.
Don’t allow anyone else to define who you are. If you’re a graphic designer, but you really want to be a chef, go do that. If you’re a hockey player that wants to be an opera singer, then start warming up those vocal chords. Don’t feel pigeonholed by what others have defined your interests as. Just be you.
The bottom line is this: Stick to doing what makes you happy and strive to reach the goals that you set for yourself, because in the end happiness drives everything. Never limit yourself to what other people think you should be. Have the self-awareness to know what you should be.
To hear more from Gary, join him at the 4A’s Strategy Festival in New York City, October 16-18.
Follow him on Twitter @garyvee. Or visit his website.